This is one of these pages. Click on one of the above for a different OTRR Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar Single Episodes page.
For over twelve years, from 1949 through 1962 (including a one year hiatus in 1954-1955), this series recounted the cases "the man with the action-packed expense account, America’s fabulous freelance insurance investigator, Johnny Dollar". Johnny was an accomplished 'padder' of his expense account. The name of the show derives from the fact that he closed each show by totaling his expense account, and signing it "End of report... Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar".
Terry Salomonson in his authoritative "A Radio Broadcast Log of the Drama Program Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar", notes that the original working title was "Yours Truly, Lloyd London". Salomonson writes "Lloyd London was scratched out of the body of (the Dick Powell) audition script and Johnny Dollar was written in. Thus the show was re-titled on this script and the main character was renamed. Why this was done was unclear – possibly to prevent a legal run-in with Lloyd’s of London Insurance Company." Although based in Hartford, Connecticut, the insurance capital of the world, freelancer Johnny Dollar managed to get around quite a bit – his adventures taking him all over the world.
There were some unusual devices used in the show that help set it apart from other shows. There was no partner, assistant, or secretary for Johnny. The character closest to a continuing role was that of Pat McCracken of the Universal Adjustment Bureau, who assigned Johnny many of his cases. Another atypical aspect gave the show additional credibility – frequently, characters on the show would mention that they had heard about Johnny’s cases on the radio. Johnny often used his time when filling out his expense accounts to give the audience background information or to express his thoughts about the current case.
No fewer than eight actors played Johnny Dollar. Dick Powell, of Rogue’s Gallery fame, cut the original audition tape, but chose to do Richard Diamond, Private Detective instead. Gerald Mohr, of The Adventures of Philip Marlowe fame, auditioned in 1955, prior to Bob Bailey getting the title role. Through the first three actors to play Johnny Dollar (Charles Russell, Edmond O'Brien, and John Lund), there was little to distinguish the series from many other radio detective series. Dollar was just another hard-boiled detective in a medium that was overloaded with the stereotype. Charles Russell, the first to play the role, would throw silver dollars to bellboys and waiters. Luckily, this trite gimmick did not survive long.
On October 3, 1955, after a hiatus of over a year, the show came back with a vengeance. A new production team, including director/writer Jack Johnstone, a new star, Bob Bailey, from the radio series Let George Do It, and a new format would set the series apart from its competitors. Johnny's cases were now a continuing serial, five days a week, for fifteen minutes each evening. With 75 minutes of airtime, minus commercials and openings and closings, there was sufficient time to develop good storylines and interesting characters.
During this time, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar attracted some of the best writers in Hollywood, including Jack Johnstone, E. Jack Neuman (using the pen name John Dawson), Robert Ryf, and Les Crutchfield. Bob Bailey also wrote a script while he was playing Johnny Dollar. He used the pen name Robert Bainter (Bainter was his middle name) as the scriptwriter for "The Carmen Kringle Matter", which was aired on Saturday, December 21, 1957 on the West Coast, and on the following day for the rest of the country.
Bob Bailey, generally thought of as the most popular of the Johnny Dollars, brought a new interpretation to the character – tough, but not hard-boiled; streetwise, but not overly cynical, Bailey's Dollar was smart and gritty when he had to be. But Bailey's Johnny Dollar was also human. His character would get emotionally involved in a number of his cases. He had a streak of impatience, and would occasionally not fully listen to a witness and rush off on a tangent before realizing his mistake.
The weekday serialized episodes are generally acknowledged as some of the finest radio detective shows ever produced. There were fifty six multi-part shows in all: fifty four five-part shows, one six-part show, and one nine-part show. The serialized episodes continued until November 2, 1956 when the series again reverted to a once a week, thirty minute format. Bob Bailey continued in the lead, until "The Empty Threat Matter" of November 27, 1960, when the Hollywood run ended.
The guest stars and supporting casts were always first rate, attracting the best radio actors in both Los Angeles and New York. Pat McCracken was played by several actors – most frequently, by Larry Dobkin. Particularly noteworthy was the work of Virginia Gregg, who played many roles, including Johnny's girlfriend Betty Lewis. Harry Bartell was also a frequent guest, who did many of the Spanish dialect roles when Johnny went to a Latin American country. Other frequent guest performers were Parley Baer, Tony Barrett, John Dehner, Don Diamond, Sam Edwards, Herb Ellis, Frank Gerstle, Stacy Harris, Jack Kruschen, Forrest Lewis, Howard McNear, Marvin Miller, Jeanette Nolan, Vic Perrin, Barney Phillips, Jean Tatum, Russell Thomson, Ben Wright, and Will Wright. Vincent Price co-starred as himself in "The Price of Fame Matter" and went to Europe with Johnny on the case.
In December 1960, the show moved to New York. Robert Readick started the New York run as Dollar, but only lasted a short while. Jack Johnstone continued to write for the show and submitted scripts from California. Johnstone wrote about 350 Johnny Dollar scripts under his own name and his pen names Sam Dawson and Jonathan Bundy. Johnstone wrote the last episodes of both Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and Suspense. He used the Bundy pen name when writing the last Suspense episode, "Devilstone".
And so, an era passed. Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar was the last continuing detective series of the Golden Age of Radio. Mandel Kramer was the last Johnny Dollar, and a close second in popularity to Bailey, when the final episode, "The Tip-Off Matter", was aired on September 30, 1962.
Material for this description was prepared by Stewart Wright.
NOTE: Updated with Version 2 files (08-Jan-2020)
From the Old Time Radio Researchers Group. See "Notes" Section below for more information on the OTRR.
It contains the most complete and accurate version of this series in the best sound possible at the time of creation. An updated version will be issued if more episodes or better sounding ones become available.
This is the Single Episodes Page. The Certified Set includes extras not found here. It is located at OTRR Certified Set. This Single Episodes page is provided in case you want to sample the shows.Note that in many cases, file names have been modified from the original OTRR names to conform to archive.org naming requirements.
If you are interested in preserving Old Time Radio (OTR), you may wish to join the Old Time Radio Researchers Group at Facebook and Groups.io.
Relax, listen, and enjoy!
OTRR Maintained Set -- This set contains all known episodes in the best available audio condition with the most accurate dates and titles known to be in general circulation and based on current research at the time of release. Replaces OTRR Certified Accurate and OTRR Certified Complete.
OTRR Non-Maintained Set -- A collection of shows that has not gone through the OTRR Maintenance process.
Pre-2019 OTRR Definitions:
OTRR Certified Accurate -- A series that was "Certified Accurate" indicated that all the episodes were properly identified and labeled based on current information but that the series did not contain all known extant episodes.
OTRR Certified Complete -- A series that was "Certified Complete" achieved the highest level of certification available under the OTRR Certified Standards. This certification level implied that all the files in the series were "Certified Accurate" and also indicated that the series was as complete as possible and included all circulating episodes.
OTRR Non-Certified -- A collection of shows that has not gone through the OTRR Certification process.
Also, beginning in 2019, the version numbers of our OTRR releases changed format -- instead of v1.0 or v2.1, we are now using a version number that reflects the year and month the set was released. The format used is a two-digit year followed by a two-digit month. For example, "v1906" indicates a set that was released in June 2019, or "v1910" indicates a set released in October 2019.
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Reviewer:Child of the 50s
May 29, 2020 Subject:
How can people say that the writer of Johnny Dollar was really not that good? I just finished listening to the Rasmussen Matter. What a tour de force that was. The writing, the acting, were tremendous. Virginia Gregg was one of the best actresses of all time. She could be convincing in any role. And of course Bob Bailey gave so much soul to the character of Johnny Dollar. How lucky we are to be able to enjoy these works of art in a world where quality generally takes a back seat to popularity. Thank you, Internet Archive, for giving us such a precious gift. I hope everyone will answer your call for donations to support your worthiest of endeavors.
January 9, 2020 Subject:
Replaced files on this page from the Version 2 Release.
For the full OTRR Release, see the OTRR Certified page:
May 12, 2019 Subject:
Thanks for sharing!
The 15 minute Bob Bailey Johnny Dollar serial run was the absolute best of OTR detective series, imo, but I'm not crazy about the switch to the 30 minute format. Jack Johnstone just wasn't a very good writer, I'm afraid, and economic circumstances resulted in him writing the vast majority of the scripts. There are some good episodes here though.
My favorite episode:
The Mason-Dixon Mismatch Matter (06-09-57)
A few others that I liked:
The Model Picture Matter (11.03.57)
The Meek Memorial Matter (03.03.57)
The Killer's List (03.30.58)
The Blinker Matter (07.06.58)
The Doting Dowager Matter (01.25.59)
December 5, 2018 Subject:
I just finished listening to The Rasmussen Matter and was preparing to leave a review when I read the review posted on July 2018. This is an amazing episode! So much realistic drama! How did they manage to do it in 30 minutes?!! The story is great and the actors are all superb.
July 15, 2018 Subject:
A step up in radio drama.
I am from England and was aged 2 when bob bailey made the first of these brilliant episodes. I have always been a fan of American radio and the way that the stations broadcast such amazing shows. I rate this series as the number one and my favourite radio series. It took about 4 episodes to formulate this view but then I heard the Rasmussen matter and knew that the series was the acme of its kind. The script of this episode was both dramatic and heartbreakingly sad. Virginia Gregg is so believable in her role. One of the best episodes in the history of radio half hour drama. If you are not sure about this series I would recommend you to this episode. You will be hooked. And then if you don't know this - there is an earlier series called let george do it that is well worth a listen. You lucky person.
Reviewer:Den NC USA
January 15, 2018 Subject:
Bob Bailey is the Best... of a Great Radio Show
I agree with the other reviewers... great quality, great show. Bob Bailey was so totally believable in his ever-perfect acting on this show, I feel like I know Johnny Dollar personally!
I heard the broadcasts back in Dothan, Alabama when Bailey was doing work on the "dying medium" of network radio drama. Sad that TV killed radio. Wonderful that we can re-live those "thrilling days of yesteryear..." here at archive.org. Support this great source if you appreciate culture kept for us all.
Back to Bailey. He is so perfect in his character, and never gets a line wrong, of course it was transcribed, but I mean, pitch perfect, no matter what he was doing, in any of his adventures. Cool too is that characters know of him as that guy on the radio... yes, breaking the fourth wall of drama realism.. and often, as said in the other review, the mood is very complex or witty... due to two things...
three... perfect production values, great scripts and direction by Jack Johnstone... http://articles.latimes.com/1991-12-02/news/mn-556_1_radio-johnstone-jack
and the best actors in late-radio, as noted by our other reviewer. Virginia Gregg was wonderful. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Gregg
And of course, let's enjoy all that Bob Bailey did... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Bailey_(actor)
October 5, 2017 Subject:
MINT QUALITY SOUND & GOOD STORIES
I was tipped off by my cousin, Charlie Heinz, to these Bob Bailey half hour shows. As a show biz maven, I love to hear these shows in superb quality audio. I love the production music cues from the old MUTEL library from which the opening theme came and the incidental music. Nobody knows who composed the music. But it sounds a lot like Paul Sawtell. For those into this genre and those who wonder who the voices were. Some familiar ones are Parley Baer, Howard McNear and Larry Dobkin, who were, respectively, Chester, Doc and various villains, on radio's GUNSMOKE. Bob Bruce was the narrator for Disney cartoons and wrote a book called FOURTH BANANA about his life in the voice work biz. Those are a few of the voices. Bob Bailey had a major role in the Laurel & Hardy comedy JITTERBUGS, which can be seen on YouTube. ###
October 4, 2017 Subject:
By Far, the BEST SOUND QUALITY!
This compilation is by far THE BEST SOUND QUALITY!